Tackling Inequality is an Economic Imperative

Inequalities in the UK

ISBN: 978-1-78714-480-4, eISBN: 978-1-78714-479-8

Publication date: 8 November 2017

Abstract

Until the 2008 Crash, the prevailing economic orthodoxy, accepted across the broad political spectrum, was that inequality was a necessary condition for economic health. The evidence of the last four decades is that this trade-off theory – that you can have more equal or more efficient economies but not both – is incorrect. Not only do excessive concentrations of income and wealth bring social dislocation and breed public discontent with democratic institutions, but a number of studies have shown that inequality on today’s scale brings slower growth and greater economic turbulence. Although there is now a broad acceptance amongst global leaders that inequality poses significant risks for social cohesion and economic stability, there has been little or no action to match the high level verbal war against inequality. As a result, inequality has carried on rising within nations since 2008. In the United Kingdom, the gap between the top and bottom has continued to widen, in part because post-2010 governments have weakened the pro-equality role of the state. Tackling inequality is now one of the most pressing issues of the day – an economic as well as a social imperative – while reversing this four decade long trend will require a major restructuring of the pro-market economic models in place across most of the rich world.

Keywords

Citation

Lansley, S. (2017), "Tackling Inequality is an Economic Imperative", Fée, D. and Kober-Smith, A. (Ed.) Inequalities in the UK, Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 39-57. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78714-479-820171001

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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